We investigated the clinical efficacy and safety of tocilizumab (a humanized anti-IL-6 receptor antibody) monotherapy in active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with an inadequate response to low dose methotrexate (MTX). In a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, controlled trial, 125 patients were allocated to receive either tocilizumab 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks plus MTX placebo (tocilizumab group) or tocilizumab placebo plus MTX 8 mg/week (control group) for 24 weeks. The clinical responses were measured using the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria and the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints. Serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels were also monitored. At week 24, 25.0% in the control group and 80.3% in the tocilizumab group achieved ACR20 response. The tocilizumab group showed superior ACR response criteria over control at all time points. Additionally, serum VEGF levels were significantly decreased by tocilizumab treatment. The overall incidences of adverse events (AEs) were 72 and 92% (serious AEs: 4.7 and 6.6%; serious infections: 1.6 and 3.3%) in the control and the tocilizumab groups, respectively. All serious adverse events improved by adequate treatment. Tocilizumab monotherapy was well tolerated and provided an excellent clinical benefit in active RA patients with an inadequate response to low dose MTX.
Clinical trial; Interleukin-6; Rheumatoid arthritis; Tocilizumab; Vascular endothelial growth factor
The phase III RADIATE study examined the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab, an anti-IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibody in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) refractory to tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antagonist therapy.
499 patients with inadequate response to one or more TNF antagonists were randomly assigned to receive 8 mg/kg or 4 mg/kg tocilizumab or placebo (control) intravenously every 4 weeks with stable methotrexate for 24 weeks. ACR20 responses, secondary efficacy and safety endpoints were assessed.
ACR20 was achieved at 24 weeks by 50.0%, 30.4% and 10.1% of patients in the 8 mg/kg, 4 mg/kg and control groups, respectively (less than p<0.001 both tocilizumab groups versus control). At week 4 more patients achieved ACR20 in 8 mg/kg tocilizumab versus controls (less than p = 0.001). Patients responded regardless of most recently failed anti-TNF or the number of failed treatments. DAS28 remission (DAS28 <2.6) rates at week 24 were clearly dose related, being achieved by 30.1%, 7.6% and 1.6% of 8 mg/kg, 4 mg/kg and control groups (less than p = 0.001 for 8 mg/kg and p = 0.053 for 4 mg/kg versus control). Most adverse events were mild or moderate with overall incidences of 84.0%, 87.1% and 80.6%, respectively. The most common adverse events with higher incidence in tocilizumab groups were infections, gastrointestinal symptoms, rash and headache. The incidence of serious adverse events was higher in controls (11.3%) than in the 8 mg/kg (6.3%) and 4 mg/kg (7.4%) groups.
Tocilizumab plus methotrexate is effective in achieving rapid and sustained improvements in signs and symptoms of RA in patients with inadequate response to TNF antagonists and has a manageable safety profile.
Trial registration number:
This study compared the efficacy and safety of subcutaneous (SC) versus intravenous (IV) formulations of tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis with an inadequate response to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD).
Patients (n=1262) were randomly assigned to receive tocilizumab-SC 162 mg weekly+placebo-IV every 4 weeks or tocilizumab-IV 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks+placebo-SC weekly in combination with traditional DMARD. The primary outcome was to demonstrate the non-inferiority of tocilizumab-SC to tocilizumab-IV with regard to the proportion of patients in each group achieving an American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20 response at week 24 using a 12% non-inferiority margin (NIM). Secondary outcomes were disease activity score using 28 joints (DAS28), ACR responses, health assessment questionnaire scores and safety assessments.
At week 24, 69.4% (95% CI 65.5 to 73.2) of tocilizumab-SC-treated patients versus 73.4% (95% CI 69.6 to 77.1) of tocilizumab-IV-treated patients achieved an ACR20 response (weighted difference between groups −4.0%, 95% CI −9.2 to 1.2); the 12% NIM was met. ACR50/70 responses, DAS28 and physical function improvements were comparable between the tocilizumab-SC and tocilizumab-IV groups. The safety profiles of tocilizumab-SC and tocilizumab-IV were similar, and the most common adverse event was infection. Injection-site reactions (ISR) occurred more frequently in the tocilizumab-SC group than in the tocilizumab-IV (placebo-SC) group. No anaphylaxis was reported over the 24 weeks.
Tocilizumab-SC 162 mg weekly demonstrated comparable efficacy to tocilizumab-IV 8 mg/kg. The safety profile of tocilizumab-SC is consistent with the known and well-established safety profile of tocilizumab-IV, with the exception of a higher incidence of ISR, which were more common with tocilizumab-SC administration.
Rheumatoid Arthritis; DMARDs (biologic); Disease Activity
To assess the impact of certolizumab pegol (CZP) on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and to interpret these results using number needed to treat (NNT), and associations between PRO responses and longer term outcomes.
A total of 619 patients with active RA were randomised to CZP 200 or 400 mg, or placebo plus methotrexate (MTX). PROs assessed included pain, patient's global assessment of disease activity (PtGA), physical function, fatigue and health-related quality of life. Treatment impact on PROs, NNT to achieve simultaneous improvements in multiple PROs and correlations between PROs were calculated. Times to onset of improvements greater than or equal to minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs) in pain as a determinant of clinical outcomes at week 24 were compared between week 6 and 12 responders, and in patients with improvements in pain ≥MCID at week 12 (week 12 responders/non-responders).
CZP 200 and 400 mg plus MTX were associated with rapid, clinically meaningful improvements in all PROs. The NNT for subjects to report changes ≥MCID in up to five PROs was two to three, and five for all six PROs (pain, PtGA, physical function, fatigue and short-form 36-item Physical and Mental Component Summary Scores). More patients with improvements ≥MCID in pain at week 6 than those at week 12 had lower disease activity at week 24. Week 12 pain responders had better clinical outcomes at week 24 than non-responders.
The data demonstrate that CZP provides broad relief from the burden of RA.
Trial registration number
To evaluate the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab in clinical practice in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) with inadequate responses (IR) to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or both DMARDs and tumour necrosis factor α inhibitors (TNFis).
Patients—categorised as TNFi-naive, TNFi-previous (washout) or TNFi-recent (no washout) —received open-label tocilizumab (8 mg/kg) every 4 weeks ± DMARDs for 24 weeks. Adverse events (AEs) and treatment discontinuations were monitored. Efficacy end points included American College of Rheumatology (ACR) responses, 28-joint disease activity score (DAS28) and European League Against Rheumatism responses.
Overall, 1681 (976 TNF-naive, 298 TNFi-previous and 407 TNFi-recent) patients were treated; 5.1% discontinued treatment because of AEs. The AE rate was numerically higher in TNFi-recent (652.6/100 patient-years (PY)) and TNFi-previous (653.6/100PY) than in TNFi-naive (551.1/100PY) patients. Serious AE rates were 18.0/100PY, 28.0/100PY and 18.6/100PY; serious infection rates were 6.0/100PY, 6.8/100PY and 4.2/100PY, respectively. At week 4, 36.5% of patients achieved ACR20 response and 14.9% DAS28 remission (<2.6); at week 24, 66.9%, 46.6%, 26.4% and 56.8% achieved ACR20/ACR50/ACR70 responses and DAS28 remission, respectively. Overall, 61.6% (TNFi-naive), 48.5% (TNFi-previous) and 50.4% (TNFi-recent) patients achieved DAS28 remission.
In patients with RA who were DMARD-IR/TNFi-IR, tocilizumab ± DMARDs provided rapid and sustained efficacy without unexpected safety concerns.
The goal of this study was to compare the efficacy in terms of Health Assessment Questionnaire change from baseline (HAQ CFB), 50% improvement in American College of Rheumatology criterion (ACR-50) and Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) defined remission (< 2.6) between abatacept and other biologic disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have inadequate response to methotrexate (MTX-IR).
A systematic literature review identified controlled trials investigating the efficacy of abatacept (three studies), etanercept (two studies), infliximab (two), adalimumab (two), certolizumab pegol (two) ritixumab (three), and tocilizumab (two) in MTX-IR patients with RA. The clinical trials included in this analysis were similar with respect to trial design, baseline patient characteristics and background therapy (MTX). The key clinical endpoints of interest were HAQ CFB, ACR-50 and DAS28 < 2.6 measured at 24 and 52 weeks. The results were analysed using network meta-analysis methods that enabled calculation of an estimate for expected relative effect of comparative treatments. Analysis results were expressed as the difference in HAQ CFB score and odds ratio (OR) of achieving an ACR-50 and DAS28 response and associated 95% credible intervals (CrI).
The analysis of HAQ CFB at 24 weeks and 52 weeks showed that abatacept in combination with MTX is expected to be more efficacious than MTX monotherapy and is expected to show a comparable efficacy relative to other biologic DMARDs in combination with MTX. Further, abatacept showed comparable ACR-50 and DAS28 < 2.6 response rates with other biologic DMARDs at 24 and 52 weeks, except for ACR-50 compared to certolizumab pegol at 52 weeks and for DAS28 < 2.6 compared to tocilizumab at 24 weeks. Sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the findings.
Abatacept in combination with MTX is expected to result in a comparable change from baseline in HAQ score and comparable ACR-50 and DAS28 < 2.6 response rates in MTX-IR patients compared to other approved biologic agents.
abatacept; rheumatoid arthritis; biologic DMARDs; network meta-analysis; health assessment questionnaire
Objectives. To evaluate the association between improvements in physical function, fatigue and pain and improvements in productivity at work and at home in patients treated with certolizumab pegol (CZP) in combination with MTX.
Methods. Physical function, fatigue and pain were assessed in two CZP clinical trials (Rheumatoid Arthritis PreventIon of structural Damage 1 and 2) using the HAQ-Disability Index (HAQ-DI), Fatigue Assessment Scale (FAS) and Patient Assessment of Pain, with minimal clinically important differences (MCIDs) defined as ≥0.22, ≥1 and ≥10 points, respectively. Work and home productivity were evaluated using the RA-specific Work Productivity Survey (WPS-RA). The odds of achieving an HAQ-DI, FAS or pain ‘response’ at Week 12, defined as improvements ≥MCID, were compared between CZP and control groups. Improvements in productivity at Week 12 were compared between CZP-treated HAQ-DI, FAS or pain responders and non-responders.
Results. The odds of achieving improvements ≥MCID were five times higher for pain, and two to three times higher for physical function and fatigue, in patients receiving CZP vs control. Per month, responders reported significantly greater improvements in productivity at work and reduced interference of RA with their work productivity than non-responders. Responders also reported significantly greater improvements in productivity at home and participation in family, social and leisure activities.
Conclusions. This study demonstrated a clear association between patient-reported improvements in physical function, fatigue and pain, and improvements in productivity both at work and home.
Rheumatoid arthritis; Certolizumab pegol; Physical function; Fatigue; Pain; TNF; Work productivity; Household productivity; Daily activities
Because of the pathological role of IL-6 in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), tocilizumab (TCZ), a humanized anti-IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibody, was expected to improve inflammation and joint destruction of RA. Indeed, randomized clinical trials demonstrated the clinical efficacy of TCZ as monotherapy or combined with methotrexate (MTX) for RA patients with inadequate responses to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, MTX or tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors. Although long-term tolerability for TCZ is superior to that for TNF inhibitors, information regarding the potency of drug free remission of TCZ is limited at present. In terms of its safety profile, the general risk of infection when using TCZ is comparable to that of TNF inhibitors. TCZ has some advantage in RA patients who can not use MTX and are non-responders to TNF inhibitors. In conclusion, TCZ is one of the most prospective next generation biologics for the treatment of RA.
rheumatoid arthritis; interleukin-6; tocilizumab
The objective of this study was to assess the impact of certolizumab pegol (CZP) treatment on health-related quality of life (HRQoL), fatigue and other patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Patients with active RA (N = 982) were randomized 2:2:1 to subcutaneous CZP (400 mg at weeks 0, 2 and 4; followed by CZP 200 mg or 400 mg) plus methotrexate (MTX) every other week, or placebo (PBO) plus MTX. PRO assessments included HRQoL, fatigue, physical function, arthritis pain and disease activity. Adjusted mean changes from baseline in all PROs were obtained using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) applying last observation carried forward (LOCF) imputation. The proportion of patients achieving clinically meaningful improvements in each PRO was obtained using logistic regression and by applying non-responder imputation to missing values after rescue medication or withdrawal. The correlations between PRO responses and clinical responses were also assessed by tetrachoric correlation using non-responder imputation.
Patients treated with CZP plus MTX reported significant (P < 0.001), clinically meaningful improvements in HRQoL at the first assessment (week 12); reductions in fatigue, disease activity and pain and improvements in physical function were reported at week 1. In particular, CZP-treated patients reported improvements in mental health. Mean changes from baseline in the SF-36 Mental Component Summary (MCS) at week 52 for CZP 200 mg and 400 mg plus MTX, and PBO plus MTX were 6.4, 6.4 and 2.1, respectively (P < 0.001). In addition, mental health and vitality scores in CZP-treated patients approached age- and gender-adjusted US population norms. Improvements in all PROs were sustained. Similar benefits were reported with both CZP doses. Changes in SF-36 MCS scores had the lowest correlation with disease activity scores (DAS28) and American College of Rheumatology 20% improvement (ACR20) response rates, while improvements in pain showed the highest correlation.
Treatment with CZP plus MTX resulted in rapid and sustained improvements in all PROs, indicating that the benefits of CZP extend beyond clinical efficacy endpoints into areas that are more relevant and meaningful for patients on a daily basis.
The anti-interleukin (IL) 6 receptor antibody tocilizumab inhibits signalling of IL6, a key cytokine in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pathogenesis.
To evaluate through the AMBITION study the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab monotherapy versus methotrexate in patients with active RA for whom previous treatment with methotrexate/biological agents had not failed.
This 24-week, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel-group study, randomised 673 patients to either tocilizumab 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks, or methotrexate, starting at 7.5 mg/week and titrated to 20 mg/week within 8 weeks, or placebo for 8 weeks followed by tocilizumab 8 mg/kg. The primary end point was the proportion of patients achieving American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20 response at week 24.
The intention-to-treat analysis demonstrated that tocilizumab was better than methotrexate treatment with a higher ACR20 response (69.9 vs 52.5%; p<0.001), and 28-joint Disease Activity Score (DAS28) <2.6 rate (33.6 vs 12.1%) at week 24. Mean high-sensitivity C-reactive protein was within the normal range from week 12 with tocilizumab, whereas levels remained elevated with methotrexate. The incidence of serious adverse events with tocilizumab was 3.8% versus 2.8% with methotrexate (p = 0.50), and of serious infections, 1.4% versus 0.7%, respectively. There was a higher incidence of reversible grade 3 neutropenia (3.1% vs 0.4%) and increased total cholesterol ⩾240 mg/dl (13.2% vs 0.4%), and a lower incidence of alanine aminotransferase elevations >3×–<5× upper limit of normal (1.0% vs 2.5%), respectively.
Tocilizumab monotherapy is better than methotrexate monotherapy, with rapid improvement in RA signs and symptoms, and a favourable benefit–risk, in patients for whom treatment with methotrexate or biological agents has not previously failed.
Trial registration number:
In patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) despite methotrexate, to compare the efficacy of adding tocilizumab to that of switching to tocilizumab monotherapy.
Double-blind, 2-year study in which adults with active RA (DAS28 >4.4) despite methotrexate were randomly assigned either to continue methotrexate with the addition of tocilizumab (MTX+TCZ) 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks or switch to tocilizumab and placebo (TCZ+PBO). The primary endpoint was the DAS28–erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) remission rate at week 24. Secondary objectives included other symptomatic outcomes, quality of life and progression of structural damage.
Of 556 randomly assigned patients, 512 (92%) completed 24 weeks. DAS28–ESR remission rates were 40.4% for TCZ+MTX and 34.8% for TCZ+PBO (p=0.19); American College of Rheumatology 20/50/70/90 rates were 71.5%/45.5%/24.5%/5.8% (TCZ+MTX) and 70.3%/40.2%/25.4%/5.1% (TCZ+PBO; differences not significant). A significant difference between groups was seen for low DAS28 (61.7% vs 51.4%). Radiographic progression was small and not different between groups (Genant–Sharp score progression ≤ smallest detectable change in 91% (TCZ+MTX) and 87% (TCZ+PBO)). Rates per 100 patient-years of serious adverse events and serious infections were 21 and six, respectively, for TCZ+MTX and 18 and six, respectively, for TCZ+PBO. Alanine aminotransferase elevations greater than threefold the upper limit of normal occurred in 7.8% and 1.2% of TCZ+MTX and TCZ+PBO patients, respectively.
No clinically relevant superiority of the TCZ+MTX add-on strategy over the switch to tocilizumab monotherapy strategy was observed. The combination was more commonly associated with transaminase increases. Meaningful clinical and radiographic responses were achieved with both strategies, suggesting that tocilizumab monotherapy might be a valuable treatment strategy in suitable RA patients.
To determine whether heterogeneity in interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-6 receptor and other components of the IL-6 signalling pathway/network, at the gene, transcript and protein levels, correlate with disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and with clinical response to tocilizumab.
Biomarker samples and clinical data for five phase 3 trials of tocilizumab were analysed using serum (3751 samples), genotype (927 samples) and transcript (217 samples) analyses. Linear regression was then used to assess the association between these markers and either baseline disease activity or treatment response.
Higher baseline serum IL-6 levels were significantly associated (p<0.0001) with higher baseline DAS28, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C reactive protein and Health Assessment Questionnaire in patients whose responses to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD-IR) and to antitumour necrosis factor (aTNF-IR) were inadequate and patients who were naive/responders to methotrexate (MTX). Higher baseline serum IL-6 levels were also significantly associated with better clinical response to tocilizumab (versus placebo) measured by cDAS28 in the pooled DMARD-IR (p<0.0001) and MTX-naive populations (p=0.04). However, the association with treatment response was weak. A threefold difference in baseline IL-6 level corresponded to only a 0.17-unit difference in DAS28 at week 16. IL-6 pathway single nucleotide polymorphisms and RNA levels also were not strongly associated with treatment response.
Our analyses illustrate that the biological activity of a disease-associated molecular pathway may impact the benefit of a therapy targeting that pathway. However, the variation in pathway activity, as measured in blood, may not be a strong predictor. These data suggest that the major contribution to variability in clinical responsiveness to therapeutics in RA remains unknown.
Treatment with tumour necrosis factor inhibitors (TNF-i) plus methotrexate (MTX), but not MTX monotherapy alone, inhibits joint damage progression even at higher levels of disease activity. Such disassociation of disease activity and structural damage has not been shown for biological agents other than TNF-i.
To evaluate whether interleukin 6 (IL-6) inhibition with tocilizumab (TCZ) interferes with joint destruction beyond its effects on disease activity.
A random 90% sample of data from the (The Tocilizumab Safety and the Prevention of Structural Joint Damage Study) LITHEtrial on active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) despite MTX was used, which compared addition of placebo (n=117) with addition of TCZ (n=414) every 4 weeks. Baseline and 1-year values of clinical and serological variables were correlated with changes to 1 year of the total Genant-modified Sharp score (TGSS) using a Spearman test, and the progression of TGSS, erosion and joint space narrowing (JSN) scores in groups with low and high disease activity were compared for placebo and TCZ (Kruskal–Wallis).
Baseline variables were similar among the groups. Change of TGSS was lower in patients receiving TCZ than placebo (TCZ: 0.29±0.96; placebo: 0.90±1.92; p=0.0007). In patients receiving placebo, the correlation with TGSS change was significant for baseline scores of the simplified disease activity index (SDAI; r=0.18, p=0.047) and swollen joint count 28 (r=0.22, p=0.019), with similar trends for C-reactive protein. Similar correlations were seen for SDAI, clinical disease activity index, disease activity score 28 at 1 year with x-ray change during that year (r=0.26–0.28, p=0.002–0.006). In contrast, none of the baseline or 1-year variables showed significant correlation with x-ray changes in patients receiving TCZ+MTX, suggesting a disassociation of the link between disease activity and damage by TCZ. Finally, for patients in remission or with low disease activity, progression of TGSS, erosion and JSN was similar among treatment groups (TGSS: placebo, 0.4±1.1; TCZ, 0.2±0.7; p=NS), while for patients with moderate or high disease activity placebo-treated patients progression was significantly greater (TGSS: 1.2±2.2 vs 0.4±1.2; p=0.0009).
IL-6 inhibition with TCZ plus MTX retards joint damage progression independently of its impact on disease activity. Similar effects have hitherto been reported only for TNF-i. This indicates that the effects of IL-6 inhibition on progression of joint damage in RA are among the most profound currently attainable.
Our aim was to assess the ability of tocilizumab monotherapy to reduce progressive structural joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis patients at high risk of progression. This study was a subanalysis from a prospective 1-year, multicenter, X-ray-reader-blinded, randomized controlled trial of tocilizumab [Study of Active Controlled Monotherapy Used for Rheumatoid Arthritis, an IL-6 Inhibitor (SAMURAI) trial]. All patients were categorized into two or three groups according to four independent predictive markers for progressive joint damage [urinary C-terminal crosslinking telopeptide (uCTX-II), urinary pyridinoline/deoxypyridinoline (uPYD/DPD) ratio, body mass index (BMI), and joint-space narrowing (JSN) score at baseline]. One-year progression of joint destruction was assessed in high-risk versus low-risk groups receiving tocilizumab monotherapy and compared with patients receiving conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) (n = 157 and 145, respectively). In patients at high risk of progression of erosion as estimated by high uCTX-II, uPYD/DPD, or low BMI, and at high risk of progression of JSN as estimated by low BMI or high JSN score, the 52-week changes in radiological erosion and JSN, respectively, were significantly less in patients treated with tocilizumab monotherapy compared with those receiving DMARDs for each type of risk factor. In patients at low risk, those receiving tocilizumab also progressed less than those on DMARDs, although the difference did not reach statistical significance. Tocilizumab monotherapy is more effective in reducing radiological progression in patients presenting with risk factors for rapid progression than in low-risk patients. Patients at high risk for progression may benefit more from tocilizumab treatment.
CTX-II; PYD/DPD; Rheumatoid arthritis; Interleukin-6; Tocilizumab; Joint destruction
A multicenter, open-label, dose-escalation phase 1/2 study was undertaken to evaluate the optimal subcutaneous tocilizumab dose that would result in exposure comparable to the intravenous tocilizumab 8-mg/kg approved dose in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. A pharmacokinetic and biomarker approach was used to estimate the clinical optimal dose regimen of subcutaneous tocilizumab. Safety and efficacy of subcutaneous tocilizumab were assessed as secondary end points. Patients received subcutaneous tocilizumab at 81 mg every 2 weeks (q2w) (n = 8), 162 mg q2w (n = 12), or 162 mg weekly (qw) (n = 12) for 24 weeks. 88% of 162-mg q2w patients and 100% of 162-mg qw patients maintained mean serum trough tocilizumab concentrations of ≥1 µg/mL, and had exposure comparable with the approved intravenous tocilizumab dose of 8 mg/kg; this resulted in normalized C-reactive protein levels and improvement in ACR20/50/70 responses. The most common adverse events were abnormal laboratory results, which were mild in severity. Anti-tocilizumab antibodies were detected in a few patients in the 81-mg q2w and 162-mg qw groups. In conclusion, coupled with efficacy and tolerability results, the appropriate dose of subcutaneous tocilizumab was determined to be 162 mg q2w for Japanese patients.
tocilizumab; subcutaneous injection; pharmacokinetics; CRP; biomarker
Constitutively overproduced in proliferating synovial tissues, interleukin-6 (IL-6) is deeply involved in the pathology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Tocilizumab is a humanized anti-human IL-6 receptor antibody that binds to soluble and membrane-bound IL-6 receptor, and at detectable levels in blood, tocilizumab is capable of almost completely blocking the transmembrane signaling of IL-6. In clinical trials for patients with RA in Japan, tocilizumab monotherapy has shown clinical efficacy equaling that of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor in combination with methotrexate, and in an extension study in patients who responded to tocilizumab, almost no patients showed a decrease in the efficacy of tocilizumab. Evidence obtained in a phase III study in Japan demonstrated that tocilizumab monotherapy had a sig-nificant inhibitory effect on the progression of structural joint damage compared with that of conventional disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Furthermore it has been shown that tocilizumab has an excellent ability to suppress serum amyloid A levels and could therefore be an important therapeutic strategy in amyloid A amyloidosis secondary to rheumatic diseases. The safety profile of tocilizumab appears to be satisfactory. However, several serious infections were also reported, and careful monitoring is therefore important during use.
tocilizumab; rheumatoid arthritis; interleukin-6; treatment; amyloidosis; biologics
Apremilast, a specific inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 4, modulates pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokine production.
Apremilast’s effect on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis was evaluated in a phase IIb randomized, controlled trial (NCT00773734).
In this 16-week, placebo-controlled study, 352 patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis received placebo or apremilast (10, 20, or 30 mg BID). PROs included Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), pruritus visual analog scale (VAS), and Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) to assess health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Changes from baseline and patients reporting improvements ≥minimum clinically important differences (MCID) were analyzed. Correlations between changes across various PRO instruments were explored.
Baseline DLQI (>10 points) and SF-36 MCS and domain scores indicated impairments in HRQOL. At 16 weeks, greater improvements from baseline in DLQI scores were reported with apremilast 20 (−5.9) and 30 mg BID (−4.4) compared with placebo (1.9; P≤0.005 for both), and a greater proportion of patients reported improvements ≥MCID (20 mg BID, 49.4%, 30 mg BID, 44.3%) versus placebo (25.0%; P<0.04). Greater improvements from baseline in pruritus VAS scores were reported with apremilast 20 (−35.5%) and 30 mg BID (−43.7%) versus placebo (−6.1%; P≤0.005). Significant and clinically meaningful improvements in SF-36 mental component summary scores (P≤0.008) and Bodily Pain, Mental Health, and Role-Emotional domains were reported with all apremilast doses (P<0.05), and Social Functioning with 20 and 30 mg BID (P<0.05) and Physical Functioning with 20 mg BID (P<0.03). Correlations between SF-36 scores and DLQI were moderate (r>0.30 and ≤0.60) and low between SF-36 and pruritus VAS (r≤0.30), indicating they measure different aspects of the disease.
Apremilast treatment resulted in improved HRQOL, including DLQI and pruritus VAS over 16 weeks of treatment, in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis.
Apremilast; Dermatology Life Quality Index; Phosphodiesterase 4; Psoriasis; Quality of life; SF-36
Several prior investigations demonstrate an improvement in bone mineral density associated with use of TNF inhibitors (TNFi). We compared the risk of osteoporotic fractures among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) initiating a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD).
A population-based cohort study was conducted using health care utilization data (1996–2008) from a Canadian province and a US commercial insurance plan. Patients with at least two RA diagnoses were identified and follow-up began with the first prescription for a DMARD. Drug regimens were categorized into three mutually exclusive hierarchical groups: 1) TNFi with or without non-biologic DMARDs (nbDMARD), 2) methotrexate (MTX) without a TNFi, or 3) other nbDMARD without a TNFi or MTX. Main outcomes were hospitalizations for fractures of the hip, wrist, humerus, or pelvis based on diagnoses and procedure codes.
The study cohort consisted of 16,412 RA patients with 25,988 new treatment episodes: 5,856 TNFi, 12,554 MTX, and 7,578 other nbDMARD. The incidence rate per 1,000 person-years for osteoporotic fracture were 5.11 (95% CI 3.50 – 7.45) for TNFi, 5.35 (95% CI 4.08–7.02) for MTX, and 6.38 (95% CI 3.78–10.77) for other nbDMARD. After multivariable adjustment for osteoporosis and fracture-related risk factors, the risk of non-vertebral osteoporotic fracture was not different in either TNFi (hazard ratio (HR) 1.07, 95% CI 0.57–1.98) or MTX (HR 1.18, 95% CI 0.60– 2.34) compared with nbDMARD.
Among subjects diagnosed with RA, the adjusted risk of non-vertebral fracture was similar across persons starting a TNFi, MTX, or other nbDMARD.
rheumatoid arthritis; fracture; disease modifying antirheumatic drugs
English articles on abatacept, golimumab, and tocilizumab in rheumatoid arthritis published between 2002 and 2009 were reviewed systematically. All randomized clinical trials, open-label extensions, meta-analyses, and reviews were examined. There were thirteen articles on abatacept, four on golimumab, and seven on tocilizumab. All three drugs were effective in methotrexate-naïve, methotrexate-incomplete responders, and tumor-necrosis-factor-failure rheumatoid arthritis patients. Of the three, only abatacept has been tested in a head-to-head trial with infliximab, in which it was found to be equivalent to infliximab. Golimumab resulted in a more modest improvement than the others in methotrexate-naïve patients, although no direct comparisons among the three drugs were possible or appropriate. Descriptive analysis of adverse events showed that patients receiving abatacept, golimumab, and tocilizumab were subject to more adverse events than controls overall, as expected. In the abatacept studies, a few cases of tuberculosis, more cardiovascular events and gastrointestinal bleedings and more basal cell carcinoma were seen. Golimumab was associated with more skin rashes and pneumonia, while tocilizumab was associated with increased lipids, more liver-function abnormalities, and neutropenia. These new medications are useful additions to the rheumatologic armamentarium and represent greater convenience (golimumab) or different mechanisms of action (abatacept and tocilizumab) than tumor-necrosis-factor inhibitors for treating rheumatoid arthritis. As expected, some adverse events occur when using these drugs and patients need to be watched carefully.
Arthritis, rheumatoid; Biological products; Abatacept; Golimumab; Tocilizumab
Suppression of the immunoinflammatory cascade by targeting interleukin 6 (IL-6) mediated effects constitutes a therapeutic option for chronic inflammatory diseases. Tocilizumab is the only IL-6 inhibitor (IL-6i) licensed for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), but also other agents targeting either IL-6 or its receptor are investigated in various indications.
To review published evidence on safety and efficacy of IL-6i in inflammatory diseases.
We performed systematic literature searches in Medline and Cochrane, screened EULAR and American College of Rheumatology meeting-abstracts, and accessed http://www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Comprehensive evidence supports the efficacy of tocilizumab in RA in DMARD-naïve patients, and after DMARD- and TNFi-failure. Randomised comparisons demonstrate superiority of tocilizumab in JIA, but not ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Other indications are currently investigated. Additional IL-6i show similar efficacy; safety generally appears acceptable.
IL-6i is effective and safe in RA and JIA, but not in AS. Preliminary results in other indications need substantiation.
Rheumatoid Arthritis; Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis; Treatment; DMARDs (biologic)
Tocilizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody to the interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor, was approved for use as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) therapy in Japan in 2008, but its efficacy and tolerability in daily practice has not yet been reported. We report the results of a multicenter retrospective study on the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab involving all patients (n = 229) who were started on tocilizumab therapy at three rheumatology institutes in Japan from April 2008 through to March 2009. Tocilizumab was infused every 4 weeks at a dose of 8 mg/kg according to the drug labeling. Among the 229 patients, 55% concomitantly received methotrexate (MTX) and 63% had previously received anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy. Average disease activity score (DAS) 28 of all 229 patients significantly decreased from 5.70 to 3.25 after 24 weeks of therapy. A European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) good response and DAS28 remission was achieved in 57.4 and 40.7% of the patients, respectively, at 24 weeks. White blood cell counts significantly decreased and liver enzymes and total cholesterol slightly but significantly increased; however, liver enzyme levels did not increase in patients without MTX. Tocilizumab was discontinued in 47 cases (20.5%) due to lack of efficacy (5.2%), adverse events (11.4%), and other reasons (3.9%). The overall retention rate at 24 weeks was 79.5%. Based on these results, we conclude that tocilizumab therapy in daily rheumatology practice appears to be highly efficacious and well tolerated among active RA patients, including the anti-TNF therapy-refractory population. Tocilizumab infusion is therefore applicable not only as an alternative approach for anti-TNF therapy-resistant patients, but also as primary biologic therapy for active RA patients.
Rheumatoid arthritis; Tocilizumab; IL-6; Remission; Retrospective study
This double-blind trial evaluated the efficacy and safety of abatacept or infliximab vs placebo. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the mean change from baseline in Disease Activity Score (based on erythrocyte sedimentation rates; DAS28 (ESR)) for the abatacept vs placebo groups at day 197.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and an inadequate response to methotrexate (MTX) were randomised 3:3:2 to abatacept (∼10 mg/kg every 4 weeks, n = 156), infliximab (3 mg/kg every 8 weeks, n = 165), or placebo (every 4 weeks, n = 110) and background MTX. Safety and efficacy were assessed throughout the study.
Similar patient demographics and clinical characteristics were present at baseline between groups, with mean scores of ∼1.7 for HAQ-DI and 6.8 for DAS28 (ESR). At 6 months, mean changes in DAS28 (ESR) were significantly greater for abatacept vs placebo (–2.53 vs –1.48, p<0.001) and infliximab vs placebo (–2.25 vs –1.48, p<0.001). For abatacept vs infliximab treatment at day 365, reductions in the DAS28 (ESR) were –2.88 vs –2.25. At day 365, the following response rates were observed for abatacept and infliximab, respectively: American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 20, 72.4 and 55.8%; ACR 50, 45.5 and 36.4%; ACR 70, 26.3 and 20.6%; low disease activity score (LDAS), 35.3 and 22.4%; DAS28-defined remission, 18.7 and 12.2%; good European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) responses, 32.0 and 18.5%; and Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI), 57.7 and 52.7%. Mean changes in physical component summary (PCS) were 9.5 and 7.6, and mental component summary (MCS) were 6.0 and 4.0, for abatacept and infliximab, respectively. Over 1 year, adverse events (AEs) (89.1 vs 93.3%), serious AEs (SAEs) (9.6 vs 18.2%), serious infections (1.9 vs 8.5%) and discontinuations due to AEs (3.2 vs 7.3%) and SAEs (2.6 vs 3.6%) were lower with abatacept than infliximab.
In this study, abatacept and infliximab (3 mg/kg every 8 weeks) demonstrated similar efficacy. Overall, abatacept had a relatively more acceptable safety and tolerability profile, with fewer SAEs, serious infections, acute infusional events and discontinuations due to AEs than the infliximab group.
Trial registration number:
BUILDER-1 and BUILDER-2 aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of tocilizumab (TCZ) in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
BUILDER-1 was a two part, phase II–III parallel-group trial in patients with AS naive to antitumour necrosis factor (aTNF) treatment. Patients in part 1 received TCZ 8 mg/kg or placebo for 12 weeks. In part 2 (beginning after part 1 enrolment ended), newly enrolled patients received TCZ 4 or 8 mg/kg or placebo for 24 weeks. The same treatment arms were used in BUILDER-2, a phase III study in aTNF-inadequate responders. The primary endpoint for both studies was the proportion of patients achieving 20% improvement in the Assessments in Axial SpondyloArthritis international Society (ASAS). Secondary and exploratory endpoints included ASAS40 response rates, Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index improvement, changes in joint counts, enthesitis score and C reactive protein (CRP).
102 patients were randomised in BUILDER-1 part 1; 99 (48 TCZ, 51 placebo) completed 12 weeks. Week 12 ASAS20 response rates were 37.3% and 27.5% in the TCZ and placebo arms, respectively (p=0.2823). Secondary and exploratory endpoints did not differ between treatment arms. CRP levels declined with TCZ treatment, suggesting adequate IL-6 receptor blockade. As a result, BUILDER-1 part 2 and BUILDER-2 were terminated. TCZ safety results were consistent with previous observations in rheumatoid arthritis, except for a cluster of anaphylactic and hypersensitivity events at Bulgarian study sites. No apparent explanation for this clustering could be found.
BUILDER-1 failed to demonstrate TCZ efficacy in treating aTNF-naive patients with AS.
Clinical trial registration numbers:
NCT01209702 and NCT01209689 (www.clinicaltrials.gov).
Ankylosing Spondylitis; Treatment; Inflammation
Objective. To assess the effectiveness, drug survival and safety of tocilizumab compared with TNF-α inhibitors in clinical practice.
Methods. Patients in the Cohort of Arthritis Biologic Users at Kameda Institute (CABUKI) registry who were on biologics during July 2003 to October 2010 were included. Remission rates at 6 months, Kaplan–Meier drug survival estimates and serious adverse event (SAE) rates were compared.
Results. A total of 247 RA patients were analysed. For first-line biologic users, the 6-month 28-joint DAS (DAS-28)-ESR remission rates were 66.7% for tocilizumab vs 25.8% for TNF inhibitors (P < 0.001, Fisher's exact test). This advantage disappeared with the application of the newly suggested Boolean remission criterion for clinical trials: 0% for tocilizumab vs 8.2% for TNF inhibitors (P = 0.367, Fisher's exact test). Tocilizumab users in DAS-28-ESR remission had lower mean ESR (3.9 mm/h for tocilizumab vs 7.9 mm/h for TNF inhibitors, P = 0.026, t-test) and higher mean swollen joint count (2.6 for tocilizumab vs 1.3 for TNF inhibitors, P = 0.036, t-test), thus failing to meet the more stringent Boolean criteria. First- and second-line tocilizumab users showed similar drug survival and SAE rates compared with TNF inhibitor users.
Conclusion. Tocilizumab had drug survival and safety profiles similar to those of TNF inhibitors in this Japanese single-centre registry. Tocilizumab was superior to TNF inhibitors when compared at 6 months by DAS-28-ESR remission. However, the newly suggested Boolean criteria are more appropriate measures of effectiveness as DAS-28-ESR remission by tocilizumab was mainly due to very low ESR in our study population.
Tocilizumab; TNF inhibitors; Rheumatoid arthritis; Benefit; Safety; Treatment outcome; DAS-28; Boolean remission criteria
To evaluate the safety and efficacy of 5-year, long-term tocilizumab monotherapy for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
In an open-label, long-term extension trial following an initial 3-month randomised phase II trial, 143 of the 163 patients who participated in the initial blinded study received tocilizumab monotherapy (8 mg/kg) every 4 weeks. Concomitant therapy with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or oral prednisolone (10 mg daily maximum) was permitted. All patients were evaluated with American College of Rheumatology (ACR) improvement criteria, disease activity score (DAS) in 28 joints, and the European League Against Rheumatism response, as well as for safety issues.
143 patients were enrolled in the open-label, long-term extension trial and 94 (66%) patients had completed 5 years as of March 2007. 32 patients (22%) withdrew from the study due to adverse events and one patient (0.7%) due to unsatisfactory response. 14 patients withdrew because of the patient’s request or other reasons. The serious adverse event rate was 27.5 events per 100 patient-years, with 5.7 serious infections per 100 patient-years, based on a total tocilizumab exposure of 612 patient-years. Of the 88 patients receiving corticosteroids at baseline, 78 (88.6%) were able to decrease their corticosteroid dose and 28 (31.8%) discontinued corticosteroids. At 5 years, 79/94 (84.0%), 65/94 (69.1%) and 41/94 (43.6%) of the patients achieved ACR20, ACR50, and ACR70 improvement criteria, respectively. Remission defined as DAS28 less than 2.6 was achieved in 52/94 (55.3%) of the patients.
In this 5-year extension study, tocilizumab demonstrated sustained long-term efficacy and a generally good safety profile.